Langar for Hurricane
United Sikhs' assistance to hurricane Katrina victims
A U.S.-based organisation has set up a community kitchen
to serve hot meals
CHANDIGARH: Americans have been introduced to the
glorious tradition of "langar" (community
kitchen) in the wake of the misery caused by the Katrina
hurricane. The "langar" was started in Punjab
by Sikh Gurus about 500 years ago to provide cooked
food through a community kitchen, regardless of status,
nationality, caste, colour or creed.
A U.S.-based organisation, the `United Sikhs', set
up "langar" from Monday onwards, to serve
hot meals to those displaced in the hurricane in New
It was also a unique opportunity for the Sikhs to
help the Americans, especially after they became targets
of hate crimes following the September 11, 2001, terrorist
strike at the World Trade Center in New York.
The director of `United Sikhs', Gurvinder Singh,
and president of the body managing the New Orleans
Gurdwara, Sumir Kaur, said in a statement from their
base camp in Baton Rouge that while food had arrived
over the weekend, the organisation's team had found
a demand for hot meals. A truck full of supplies from
Houston had been arranged for this purpose.
Volunteers from Texas, New Jersey, New York and Kansas
joined other members at the base camp, while more
"sewadars" (volunteers) from California
and Malaysia were expected to arrive in a few days.
The Unification Church had provided access to their
kitchen facilities, where sewadars from United Sikhs
and the local community would prepare and serve the
langar, Ms. Kaur was quoted as saying.
"We also hope to distribute langar at the refugee
centres in Houston from next week. We have been informed
that it will be some time before the refugees in the
centres can be moved to proper homes where they could
cook their own meals. Therefore, we will supply daily
langar for at least two weeks and, if necessary, longer,"
the statement added.
While visiting refugee centres in New Orleans, the
volunteers were requested to supply blankets, sheets,
pillows and towels for 6,000 refugees. Sikhs who owned
trucks had offered to transport the supplies.
The organisation has projected a requirement of at
least $ 100,000 to meet expenses. "We call upon
the public, especially the Sikh sangat congregating
at Gurdwaras, to launch donation drives and send us
funds so that we may buy and transport the supplies
from Houston," it said. Details related to making
donations were available on the internet atwww.unitedsikhs.org/donate.
The Sikh community's gesture is appreciated all the
more since its shrine along with the holy Guru Granth
Sahib in New Orleans is still submerged. Ms. Sumir
Kaur said, "We have appealed to President Bush
and our local Congressman, Bobby Jindal, to help us
remove the Sikh scriptures from the Gurdwara."
Sikh organisations had organised similar "langar"
services when a cyclone lashed coastal Orissa, an
earthquake rocked the Bhuj region in Gujarat, during
a drought in Rajasthan and when the tsunami deluged
the Andaman and Nicobar islands and the coasts of
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Sikhs in US helping Katrina victims:-
Amritsar | September 06, 2005 5:21:19 PM IST
Sikhs living in the United States have extended a helping
hand to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In a gesture unheard of in the West, the Sikhs have
thronged their shrines to pray for the wellbeing of
Katrina victims and have launched a fund raising campaign
in the community.
According to Dr.Pritpal Singh, the coordinator of the
American Gurdawara Parbhandak Committee, "We have
mobilized all our resources to share the grief of Katrina
victims. This is the worst natural disaster in American
history and contribution by Sikh community in this hour
of crisis would be as well a history".
Talking to ANI over telephone from the USA, Dr.Singh
said that the Sikh community has so far dispatched two
truckloads of grocery items, including juice, water
and eatables for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He
also said that the gurdawaras of Houston and Dallas
have been organizing langars or community kitchens for
The organizers, including Dr.Singh and Jaswant Singh
Hooti vice president AGPC, are scheduled to visit Banson
to distribute an aid of 20,000 dollars and other material
Meanwhile, reports reaching here said that the gurdwara
in New Orleans is submerged and some 50 Sikh families
from New Orleans and the outlying areas have been evacuated
and are living in temporary homes.
The state government has assured the AGPC that arrangements
will be made to lift Guru Granth Sahib by helicopter
to a safer place soon.
"Biloxi city in Misissippi is also badly affected
and we expect Sikhs to have been living there too. I
will have a better idea of the situation in that area
and Alabama soon and we will extend our relief work
accordingly," Sumir Kaur, spokeswoman of United
Sikhs Organization said.
The Delhi Gurdawara Parbhandak Committee in coordination
with AGPC would organize an "Ardaas Diwas( Prayer
Day) in Gurdawara Bangla Sahib New Delhi on September
Paramjit Singh Sarna, the president of the Delhi Gurdwara
Management Committee (DGMC), said that invitations have
been sent to the U.S. Embassy in Delhi and their officials
to participate in the prayers. (ANI)
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